Dreaming in Cuban

By de los Angeles Torres, Maria | The Nation, January 24, 1994 | Go to article overview

Dreaming in Cuban


de los Angeles Torres, Maria, The Nation


An unprecedented exhibit of visual art by twelve Cuban women from the island and abroad opened on November 12 at Miami's Museo Cubano de Arte y Cultura. Three hundred guests got a glimpse of "Arte Cubana," a manifestation of the profound transformations under way in what up to now has been the most politically intolerant city in the United States.

Miami today is home to a new wave of exiles: the children of the Cuban revolution. Unlike past waves of emigres, who were dismissed as the pillars of the ancient regime or the outcasts of the new one, this one contains the revolution's own cultural elite, who critique it because it has betrayed its own nationalist and socialist principles. In the city they were taught to hate and that was taught to hate them, new exiles are meeting the children of the original exiles. Like their island counterparts, young Miami Cubans also rejected the dominant political culture of their community, including the prescribed ways each side was expected to deal with the other. These new relationships are bringing down the aquatic wall that has separated the island/nation for thirty-five years.

The result is an intense rethinking of Cuban identity, art and, yes, politics. This transformation is evidenced by the diversity of style and content of the works exhibited in "Arte Cubana." The curator, Cristina Nosti, born and raised in Miami, broke barriers by selecting works on the basis of artistic merit and thematic composition rather than on where their creators live or when they left the island. These latter criteria are frequently used on the island and in the exile community. For example, an exhibit recently on display at Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art titled "Twentieth-Century Cuban Artists" excluded artists living on the island today, like Manuel Mendive, or those in the States who had visited their homeland, like Ana Mendieta. Despite its emphasis on recent art, only five out of twenty-seven artists exhibited in Fort Lauderdale were women.

Because of its more inclusive definition of Cuban culture, the Museo has been attacked by terrorists in Miami and excluded from events on the island. These attacks still haunt the Museo, and may be responsible for the absence from the exhibit of Maria Martinez-Canas, who creates Wifredo Lam-like montages of photographs, and of Demi, whose baby self-portraits recall the love she lost when her father was put to death by a firing squad in 1961. Nonetheless, "Arte Cubana," like other recent cultural events, is a sure sign that Miami is becoming a more culturally inclusive city.

In contrast, only one exile, Natalia Raphael, has exhibited her work in Cuba. It was in Matanzas, whose cultural community has been able to avoid many of the capital's political battles. Matanzas is also home to Vigia, a hand-assembled literary journal that has always included exiled writers. In contrast, Gaceta, the publication of the Union of Writers and Artists, recently published a special section on Cuban-American writers that emphasized the differences between those who stayed and those who left. The magazine does not discuss writers who have recently left.

Despite the official unwillingness to engage in a redefinition of Cuban culture, informal debates about what constitutes "Cubanidad" have been ringing across the Florida Straits. When I was in Havana last fall, Mirta Ojjito's Miami Herald articles were creating a stir. Ojito reported that most of Havana's artistic community can now be found mingling with second-generation Cuban exiles at Friday night gallery openings in Miami, and concluded that the city has become more cuban than the island itself. Independent intellectuals I spoke with found Ojito's argument overstated--Havana is still there, as are the palms, el Malecon (the seawall), la brisa (the sea breeze), other important intellectuals and artists. At the same time, they admit that Cuban culture on the island is in jeopardy. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Dreaming in Cuban
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.